I told him a few months ago if he ever wanted to do a guest post, SCU was his. Here's his first post as it relates to getting the most out of a trade show. The irony is that he left off one key point - "use every show to set up meetings with friends". PPE is less than two weeks away and one of the highlights for me this trip will be catching up with Brian in New York!
Check out Brian's work on his site or join us in NYC for a coffee! See you at PPE! Skip Cohen
Whether you go or not, sooner or later you’re going to be at one of the major conventions. Time is your most valuable commodity. So, here are some tips to make the most of your show experience:
1.Plan out your must see companies and products first, but leave room to wander and discover products and services you may have never heard of.
2. Only take the marketing materials you are really interested in. If you don't, you'll find yourself carrying around a bag of crap that weighs ten pounds and your fingers tips will hurt after a couple of hours. Bring a messenger bag or a cheap backpack, it's much easier to carry.
3. Don't get sucked into every sales pitch at every booth, it's a major time suck. Remember you can politely decline and just walk away. Your time is valuable and so is the exhibitor's time, don't waste it.
4. Take a look at the seminars and pick one or two to attend. PPE has tried and true speakers such as Bambi Cantrell, Joe McNally, and Dane Sanders. You will also find photographers in NY that you don’t find at WPPI or PPA such as Mark Seliger, Michael Grecco, and Vincent Laforet
5. Take advantage of some of the companies who have guest speakers doing mini seminars at their booths, sometimes you might pick up a great nugget of knowledge from some of the industry experts.
6. Touch base and introduce yourself to some of the companies you do business with. You will now have a human connection to that company and that person might help you out when you need a situation resolved or an album expedited.
7. Keep an eye open for your heroes, and don't be afraid to introduce yourself to them. I have met photographers whose work I have admired for years and finally had a chance to chat with them personally and thank them for inspiring me.
8. Look for events outside of the trade show, such as Shoot-NYC sponsored by Hasselblad and Broncolor, they have two days of great speakers such as Roberto Valenzuela, Skip Cohen and Rick Friedman, and here's the catch, it's free, you just need to pre-register.
9. If you are planning on making any purchases at the show, make a budget and stick to it. There are deals to be had, but remember you may be walking around with it. It might also be easier if the seller is able to ship it to you directly
10. Most importantly wear comfortable shoes, you'll walk at least 5 miles that day.